TENSION BUILDS AMONG JINJA MUSLIMS OVER NEW DISTRICT KHADI ELECTION
By Mulengera Reporter
Members of the Muslim fraternity in Jinja District are seeking divine intervention on the choice of the right person to take up the position of District Khadi nine months since the demise of Sheikh Juma Katerega in May 2019.
Three names were forwarded to Mufti Sheikh Ramadhan Mubajje who picked Sheikh Ahmada Izzudin Kibirige to serve in acting capacity. The other two Muslim clerics recommended for the position are Sheikh Ismail Adi Basoga and Dr Kassim Idd Balonde.
Mulengera News has now learnt that the delay of the announcement of a new Khadi, and Kibirige’s continued stay in the position in acting capacity have created anxiety among members of the Muslim Community who have since divided their loyalty among the three candidates.
Meanwhile, some politicians and security operatives, keen on finding an ally amidst the district’s rising political temperature, have since been sucked into what seems like a two-horse race between Kibirige and Basoga.
Here is a quick look at the profiles of the three men whose fate is in the hands of a college of sheikhs:
SHEIKH AHMADA IZZUDIN KIBIRIGE
Born on June 10, 1974, Kibirige, 46, holds a Master’s Degree in Islamic Studies, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Islamic Studies and Arabic Language. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Comparative Religion at the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU), a feat that could eventually make him one of the well-educated clerics in the region.
An imam for many years, Kibirige is a married man with a sizeable number of children. He has also travelled widely, establishing strong ties with influential Muslim leaders, especially in Saudi Arabia.
Kibirige is also the Chairman of Markaz Daawaf Alslamiya of Uganda based at Walukuba in Jinja (where new converts are kept and trained in Islamic Doctrine).
SHEIKH ISMAIL ADI BASOGA
The 49-year old cleric is the founder and director of Swahaba New Convert Centre in Walukuba East. He has also been the Imam of Swahaba Mosque in Walukuba East since 1998.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sharia Law from the prestigious Madina Islamic University in Saudi Arabia, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from the Mbale-based IUIU.
Basoga is also the director of Jinja Islamic Tours and Travel, a private safari company responsible for hajji and umra (holy pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina).
A proud husband of two wives, Basoga is also one of the most powerful out growers with sugarcane covering more than 200 acres of land from which he mints money.
DR KASSIM IDD BALONDE
Apart from being the youngest with 37 years of age, Balonde who hails from Wantudu Village, Busedde Sub County is also the most educated with a PhD in Sociology of Religion from Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey.
From a humble beginning in rural Busedde, Balonde went on to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree of Education in Islamic Studies from Zanzibar University before proceeding to Izmir in eastern Turkey for a Master’s Degree in Islamic Basic Sciences at Dokuz Eylul University.
Officially married to two wives with a number of children, Balonde is the chairman of Social Humanitarian Aid Delivery Uganda (SHADU), a charity water organization that provides clean and safe drinking water to mosques. He is also the director
He is also said to be a director of Solidarity and Assistance Foundation (SENA), a Turkish-funded NGO headquartered at Kisugu near Kampala.
HOW A KHADI WILL BE ELECTED
Knowledgeable sources say a college of 20 sheikhs chaired by the Mufti will assemble on a specific date to zero on one of the three to be announced the Khadi of Jinja.
In the event that none of the three is found fit enough to hold the office, sources added, it will be the discretion of the Mufti to ditch all the three and appoint any person of his choice. Muslims in Jinja will have to wait until that decision is made.